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How firefighters are coping with fireground stress

Take it from these firefighters, there are many ways to shake the stress from the fireground


The following is paid content sponsored by California Casualty

By FireRescue1 BrandFocus Staff

There is a lot of stress to be found on the fireground. And stress can have serious negative consequences, particularly when we deal with it in a less-than-positive way. Everyone has their own way of dealing with it. Of course, it’s no secret that we often make poor decisions on how we deal with stress. There are a lot of great ways that fire fighters can deal with stress. We polled the FireRescue1 audience to discover how they dealt with stress and here are some of the things they suggested below, you can read the rest here.

A firefighter feels the stress. (Image courtesy of iStock)
A firefighter feels the stress. (Image courtesy of iStock)

1. Talk to someone

Talking to someone about the stress is one of the most potent ways of dealing with it. There are many ways to go about that:

At work, it means talking to your chief or you fellow firefighters. Garey Tibbetts says he “talk[s] to [his] chief.” Oli Béchard says that he deals with stress by “goofing around with the whole crew... as they say: laughter is the best medicine!” and  Austin Binnewies likes to “joke with the crew and play cards with them, [it] take[s] our minds off the bad stuff."

It can also be a formal part of the job. Corena Salvaggio Michels Brown says, “I like our after fire briefing. We talk about the fire. What we did what we should've done. It brings down the adrenaline and brings us close as a team. We laugh a lot.” While Bob Temple suggests “Critical Incident Stress Training.”

Darius Bliss says to “I talk to my gf if I need to...she's my rock,” and Adrienne Pierce agrees, saying “Talking to my spouse. She has a way of putting things in perspective and comforting me.”

2. Write it down

Another option for dealing with stress is to write about it. Sarah-Adele Lauren says “I write. I write down the thoughts and emotions I was feeling.” Katina Phalen also suggested “journaling [as a way to] cope with stress.” There has been a lot of research showing that journaling can help reduce stress over the long term, and hey, if you want to write your fireground memoir one day, you’ll have all the ammunition you need.

3. Try a Relaxing hobby

If neither of those are up your alley, then consider the positive effects of relaxing. Taking your mind off of the stress through a hobby can be a great way of managing it. It doesn’t really matter what you do—so long as you enjoy it. Nikole Smith suggest “Listening to music,” while Joe Cerrone likes to “play…drums.” But, it could be a hobby as time-honored as fishing, like Aaron Cadwell, or as exciting as a motorcycle like Jason Beck.

4. Exercise

Working out is always a powerful stress reliever. It also has the benefit of improving your long-term physical health as well. Austin and Allena Robertson suggest weights [as a] physical and mental break.” Willie Acklin says “weights and cardio on the off days to make sure I burn off any stress related energy I take home. Then the little things like meals with my family become important, followed by hobbies like shooting and fishing,” while A.J. Flowers Powerlifting and talking to my wife [editor’s note: we’re not sure you want to do that at the same time]...also never underestimate the power of a good cry in the shower.”

5. Prayer

One of the most popular ways of dealing with stress, was prayer. Darryl Wisher says he turns to prayer because “everything else comes with too many negative consequences and really doesn't help and [also getting] counseling after a really bad one.” Brian Binkley says he opts for “Prayer usually when I'm by myself in a remote location like my camp.”

What do you find to be the most effective way to unwind after a stressful day on the fireground? Tell us in the comments below! 

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